Writing this one from McDonalds just off Sunningdale Road in Balby. Why, I guess because this is where #BeMoreLnD began in earnest. Before there was money for an office space, before coworking and before the days of a laptop. Working off the iPad (and iPhone) gifted to me as part of my redundancy package (from what was sports coach UK). Free wifi, ok coffee, £1.29 Quaker Oats porridge for breakfast and a salad for lunch on those days when I was feeling the need to be healthy. A lesson here.. when you have little or nothing, spend little or nothing!!!
I’ve got to admit, this chapter has been the hardest to craft to date. Trying to balance personal philosophy and the pragmatics of what this looks like in practice…
The good life is an equation of time and action.
The time you have / by the acts you undertake = the proportioned experiences had
Time is the only commodity we cannot get back. Once it has passed it cannot be rewound, it cannot be used again, it cannot be reimagined. So we must use it wisely.
The complex piece is identifying what it is we will do with our time and for what gain? For what feeling? For what lived experience?
What acts will we engage in to create the desired lived experience we may call #TheGoodLife
Elements that make up #TheGoodLife
Over the past 5 years I have reviewed various articles on this. Some of the items below are born out of the book ‘How Much is Enough – by the Skidelsky brothers’, some of it is born out of modern-day psychology and parts of it is reflective of the stoics and Aristotle. Below is my aggregation of these perspectives seen through my own lens along with a simple metric to consider:
One: Relationships – to live meaningfully with others
Metric: number and quality of relationships
Two: Value – to live as a valued member of your community
Metric: Achievements/investment recognised by those that matter
Three: Health – to live with good health over time
Metric: fully functioning body and mind over time
Four: Leisure – to live with space/time for pleasure
Metric: time spent engaged in that which we do for ourselves
Five: Learn – to live in a state of growth
Metric: progress of personal mastery across chosen domains
Six: Balance – to live in harmony with your environment
Metric: balance of our consumer vs contributor impact
Seven: Wealth – to live with moderate quantity/quality of material comforts
Metric: food, drink, shelter, clothing, assets (car, TV), holiday
Eight: Prosperity – to live with financial security doing something you love
Metric: stable income with a low life cost/sacrifice
So how will you spend your time in service of paying for this personally defined life?
Money as a means to an end
I firmly believe the acquisition of money should not be a driver or motivator. It is simply a means to an end in service of #TheGoodLife. We must appreciate this before anything else.
We would be naive to pretend money was not a major contributor to how we may spend our time (in activity and luxury or lack of). Money inevitably pays for the life we lead.
However the less our reliance is on it, the less it controls/influences our actions. The more we consider it as a ‘means to an end’ and the more we eliminate it from our needs the better. If we spend less we inevitably need to earn less.
Take note – many of the 8 elements listed above can come at no financial cost (although do have a time cost) e.g. health, learning, value, leisure, relationships can all be gained or experienced for free.
Therefore our monetary requirements is a very personal equation between prosperity (getting a stable income for doing a job we love) and the cost of each of the 7 other items (in time and/or finance).
As much as I’ve tried, I haven’t been able to provide a simple equation to help you work this out. But what I can offer is a set of questions, one for each of the 8 elements that might help you quantify either a time or a financial cost (perhaps consider these over a weekly time frame):
- Relationships – how much time do wish to spend with the ones you love (friends and family)?
- Value – how much time do you desire to give to the community you live in?
- Health – how much time (and money) can you commit to health (e.g. exercise) and wellbeing?
- Leisure – how much time (and money) do wish to invest in acts of self-serving pleasure?
- Learn – how much time (and money) might you wish to allocate to personal growth?
- Balance – what is the cost to you and your family for living in balance with nature?
- Wealth – what will it cost you to live in comfort (food, drink, shelter, clothing, car, holiday)?
- Prosperity – how much time do you want to spend working (and what income can this bring)?
I recognise for some, element 8 (the work you do) may be the first thing you consider, in as much as – you may only wish to, or be able to work a certain amount of time per week (due to life commitments). If this is the case it becomes an equation between the hours available for work and the price of your time that dictate how items 1-7 will look/be lived (life proportioned).
If so ask – What will the job I love pay (afford me financially), how much time am I able to allocate to this job without sacrificing the time I wish to dedicate to each of the other elements (e.g. relationships, leisure etc) – the outcome of this will be your weekly figure!
A crude example:
- Work out as best you can the time and financial cost of items 1-7 e.g. £5k per month
- Calculate what time is remaining (time willing) to allocate to work (item 8) e.g. 100hrs per month
- Divide the financial cost by the time available and this will give a resultant hourly income £50p/h
Now you may find your hourly income figure quite high, unattainable right now. If this is the case perhaps in the short-term dial down some elements e.g. the assets of wealth, the cost of leisure (time and/or money). You may in the early days increase the hours you work at a lower rate to hit the same end income. Just be clear on what you are doing and what your steps to get to where you desire to be are. Don’t kid yourself and keep sacrificing #TheGoodLife for income. Make a new plan if needed.
In Closing – how do you want to spend your time?
What does it mean to live well with the ones you love, your description of this is your illustration of #TheGoodLife. Time is limited and we are torn between competing elements, at times finding it difficult to negotiate our way to a coherent definition (and one that those dear to us agree with).
Please note these are my measures and my metrics (well my interpretations of many other people’s work). I am by no means saying you should consider all of them (or any of them). However for those you discount have a good reason. Additionally they may become more or less important over time.
Also I appreciate each of these items may need further explanation. To do that here would make this a fairly hefty chapter. So you have a couple of options. Do your own research and see where it takes you, talk to others in this space, talk to me, join the BAND… a group of likeminded humans supporting in the writing and publishing of this book, just get in touch via the contacts page link or direct via email@example.com. From here we will grow together.
For further information about the book #BEingSuccessfulEnough or other blog chapters click here
Time is the only commodity we cannot replace or get back once it’s used its gone forever so each moment should count, should contribute towards something, should be a value to you and the people around you – everything else is just noise.